1. Consultation Meeting With IPs Leaders and Multi-stakeholders

15th December 2015- a “Consultation Meeting with IPs Leaders and Multi-stakeholders” held in Rangpur Devi Choudhurani Polli Unnayan Kendro (DCPUK) Conference room aimed to share and identify land related problems of the northern plains land of Bangladesh involving with IPs leaders as well as strategize the actions to raise voice for protection of their land rights. This Meeting has organized by the Community Development Association (CDA) - member of ILC in Bangladesh as an initiative of National Engagement Strategy (NES) program. The Executive Director of SASUS Md: Abdur Rahim, Executive Director of RULFAO Mr. Afjal Hossain, Executive Director of Bachte Chai Somaj Unnayan Songstha Md: Abdur Rob, Executive Director of FIDA Mrs. Firoja Begum, Executive Director of UDDOG Foundation Mr. Jillur Rahman including other NGOs and Indigenous Leaders were present in the meeting.

Mr. Shah I Mobin Jinnah the Executive Director of Community Development Association (CDA) presided over the meeting. The chairperson of the meeting emphasized the necessity on identification and documentation of the land related problems of the indigenous people of northern part of Bangladesh particularly in Rangpur and Rajshahi division. This meeting realized the inevitability of capacity building for the activists and advocacy at large to raise a collective voice and action to protect the lands of IPs. A decision of organize a seminar and a training consequently came out in this meeting as priority initiative engaging civil society, local government, journalists, indigenous youth, land rights defenders, activists, academics and the victims where the documentations on land violence will be presented.  Besides, the IP leaders in the meeting mentioned the importance of unity of IPs and non-IPs to reduce or solve the land related problems. However, the IP leaders welcomed the initiative of NES and ILC and thanked to the Executive Director of CDA.

2. Report of Seminar on Indigenous Peoples Land Rights

A seminar titled ‘Indigenous   Peoples Land Rights, Land Grabbing and Vulnerability’ was held on  23 December 2015 at Family Planning Association Bangladesh (FPAB) Auditorium, Ghasipara, Dinajpur as an initiative of  National Engagement Strategy (NES) program supported by ILC. This event was jointly organized by PLAnet (Rajshahi- Rangpur Division) and Community Development Association (CDA) in association with ARBAN, Kapaeeng Foundation, and ALRD in the context of identity Crisis - disempowering- land grabbing- non application of law and vulnerability of the plains land indigenous peoples. The objective of the seminar is to connect all the stakeholders from government to grassroots, victims and even the civil society for discussing the concern depicted in the title and find out the way forward.   

The seminar was inaugurated by the Chief Guest Mr. Khairul Alam, Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Dinajpur District and presided over by Advocate Md. Azizul Islam, Chairperson of CDA. The distinguished guest was Dr. Nasir Uddin, professor of the department of Anthropology, Chittagong University; and the main speaker of the seminar was Dr. Helal Uddin Khan Shamsul Arefin, former professor of Dhaka University in the department of Anthropology.  Besides, civil society representatives, teachers, social activists, people’s organizations leaders, development associates’,  journalists from print and electronic media, NGO representatives and indigenous people’s leaders  were also participated in the seminar. In addition, Mr. Robin Soren, president of Jatiyo Adivasi Porishod (National Indigenous Forum) and chairperson of Kapaeeng Foundation has placed a memorandum in the seminar.

Eleven case studies were presented entitled on NIJ BHUME POROBASHI (Migration in his own land) in the seminar that divulged the misery of indigenous peoples related to land with its multi-dimensions of violence, disturbances, harassments, tortures, vandalism, etc. from different areas of plains land likewise Porsa, Niamotpur, Mohadevpur, Chapainawabganj, Akkelpur, Boirchuna, Parbotipur, and Gobindaganj.  

The chief guest said the nations cannot go forward laying the indigenous people behind. He also suggested collective efforts as way forward to solve the problems. He welcomed to the victimized people to meet with him at his office directly with complains and in general a public hearing is ongoing in every Wednesday of the week so that victims can join.

Demands and recommendations raised in the seminar are as follows:

  • Formation of a separate and independent land commission for IPs.
  • Establishment of special tribunal court in each district in order to rescue and return the land of the indigenous people.
  • Ensure possession of the Indigenous people on Khas pond or water bodies, khas land, graveyard and land of temple.
  • Let them recognize as the indigenous people only and must be included the eliminated indigenous people into the Govt. Gazette.
  • Let them get the rights of access to education, access to employment and establishment of educational institution.
  • Ensured food security for the Indigenous people.
  • Let starts full implication of the 97 articles of 1950s subjective law for the indigenous people to re-back their lost lands.
  • Land acquisition should be stopped in the name of forestation, govt. project and building construction.
  • Let the 9th August observed the national indigenous people’s day in each and every year by the Government.

3. Training on Adivasi Land Law, Land Management and Leadership Development Plain Lands IPs

27-30 December 2015- a four days residential training on above titled was held at Jon Sreejon Institute, Kaharol, Dinajpur organized by CDA with the support of ILC. A total of 29 participants from Indigenous community were participated in the training. The main objective of the training was to disseminate the knowledge on land laws and land management for the plains lands IPs as it is very important for the IP leaders to have the knowledge on the existing laws on land to protect their lands.

The training was facilitated by a training expertise from ALRD as well as training team of CDA training cell. The training was inaugurated by Shah I Mobin Jinnah, Executive Director of CDA, he emphasized on his speech about the development of leadership role of plains land IPs. This training applied the methods of group discussion, brain storming, power point presentation, question and answer, game, group work, display, role play etc.

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